With Quinn Ewers' commitment, Ohio State quarterback room will be loaded
It is an embarrassment of riches, even if it almost certainly won’t stay that way.
Only one quarterback, after all, can play at a time.
But the assemblage of talent that Ohio State will soon have in its quarterback room is stunning.
On Nov. 19, quarterback Quinn Ewers of Southlake Carroll High School in Texas committed to Ohio State’s 2022 recruiting class, three weeks after decommitting from the Texas Longhorns and coach Tom Herman.
Ewers is the top quarterback in his class and the No. 2 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite national rankings. That’s the same ranking current Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields had when he signed with Georgia two years ago.
But while Fields was the only blue-chip player in Ohio State’s quarterback room last year when he arrived, that certainly won’t be the case when Ewers enrolls.
C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller are freshmen now, battling to become the clear backup to Fields and to be the front-runner for next year. Stroud was the No. 2 quarterback and Miller 13th in the 2020 rankings.
Next year, five-star Kyle McCord, the No. 3 quarterback in his class, arrives from Philadelphia after signing his letter of intent on Wednesday.
Assuming Fields enters the NFL draft as expected and follows Dwayne Haskins as a first-round pick, the battle to succeed him will be captivating.
“You’re going to have one heck of a competition, I can tell you that,” said Tom Luginbill, an ESPN analyst and national recruiting director.
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Stroud went under the radar for much of the recruiting process until blowing up late. Though Ohio State already had Miller’s commitment, the Buckeyes believed Stroud was too good not to pursue.
Having two highly touted quarterbacks in the class ahead of him didn’t scare off McCord, nor did having three ahead of him dissuade Ewers.
Day said McCord will be considered for the starting job next year.
“That is going to happen,” Day said. “He will compete for the job. And we’re going to have to figure out, if Justin decides to go to the NFL, who the next quarterback is at Ohio State, and that’s a big, big deal. I know he’s looking forward to getting in here and getting to work right away.”
Day’s predecessor, Urban Meyer, was a gifted recruiter who could brandish three national championship rings to starry-eyed recruits. Day can point to his experience in the NFL and the Buckeyes’ offensive success under him.
He might not yet have Meyer’s credentials, but he clearly relates well to recruits.
“Ryan Day just makes those authentic relationships with these top targets, and he’s ever-present with them,” said Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports’ director of recruiting. “And it’s real. It’s a real relationship. It’s beyond, ‘Just come play football at Ohio State,’ so these top targets feel a connection with coach Day and feel like they know him as a person.”
Day is ultra-competitive, and he recruits players who are the same way.
“Like we always say, when you come to Ohio State, you come here to compete,” Day said recently. “And if you don’t want to compete, this probably isn’t the right place for you. If a quarterback’s coming here, they're coming here to be in the Heisman Trophy conversation, to win a national championship and be a first-round draft pick.
“If they can’t beat out the guy who's here, how are they going to go become a Heisman Trophy winner and a first-round draft pick?”
Day said he understands that Ohio State’s philosophy isn’t for everyone. Some quarterbacks would prefer to sign with a program that can almost assure a starting job. That’s not the way it works with the Buckeyes.
“The guys who come here, they want to be great,” Day said, speaking generally. “They want to compete. They love Ohio State, and they understand what they’re getting themselves into.”
Who knows how the dust will settle? Luginbill and Wiltfong are particularly high on Stroud. They also regard McCord as being in the Haskins mold, which is high praise. Both believe Ewers is the best prospect of all, for both his natural ability, his panache and experience playing at the elite high school level.
Luginbill and Wiltfong believe that it’s almost certain that at least one and probably more of the four will end up transferring when it’s clear they won’t start at Ohio State.
That, however, is an issue for another day. For now, Ohio State can salivate over having so many top quarterbacks who covet the chance to play here.
National rankings, compiled by 247sports.com, of recent Ohio State quarterback recruits:
Justin Fields, class of 2018: No. 2 overall prospect, No. 1 quarterback
C.J. Stroud, 2020: No. 42 overall, No. 2 QB
Jack Miller, 2020: No. 334 overall, No. 13 QB
Kyle McCord, 2021: No. 22 overall, No. 3 QB
Quinn Ewers, 2022: No. 2 overall, No. 1 QB